Village-level quarantine centers in worst condition, says Uttarakhand HC; asks govt to fund Gram Sabhas
Quarantine centers established at village level are the “worst of the lot” with pitiable condition and “extremely poor” hygienic condition of toilets there, the Uttarakhand High Court noted in its order on the basis of reports it received from District Legal Service Authorities who inspected the quarantine centers last week on the court’s direction.
Hearing a PIL, the High court on May 28 had directed the concerned secretaries of the District Legal Services Authorities of border districts Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar, Haridwar and Dehradun to make a personal visit of these quarantine centers within three days and file its reports.
Hearing the matter on June 2, the bench comprising of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Ravindra Maithani in its order said, “The sense which we are getting after studying these reports is that the quarantine centers which have been established at Village level are the worst of the lot. These quarantine centres in villages are mostly functioning in Government Primary Schools and Secondary Schools. Their condition, as per the reports is pitiable,” reads the order.
The order further says, “First and foremost, there are no facilities in these centers to provide food to the inmates. Food is being provided by the villagers and the family members of the inmates. In many of these quarantine centers where the inmates are more than 20 to 30, there are only 1 or 2 toilets. What is most shocking is that the hygienic condition of these toilets is also extremely poor. Most of these toilets are not clean. Apart from this, many of the toilets which are in urban areas are in bad conditions, as these toilets are not being cleaned regularly.”
The court order further says that the “Gram Sabhas” are also short of funds and they appear to be in no condition to manage these quarantine centers. The court referred to a state government order dated May 4 wherein a duty has been cast upon the District Magistrate to coordinate with the “Gram Sabhas” and “Gram Pradhans” of such villages where these quarantine centers have been established, provide them with funds and see to it that these quarantine centers are properly managed.
“We are afraid that this is not being done properly as of now,” court said in the order and directed the Secretary, Health and the Secretary, Disaster Management, Government of Uttarakhand, to pass appropriate orders to the District Magistrates so that their own order dated May 4 should be implemented in its letter and spirit and there are enough funds with the “Gram Sabhas” to manage and run these centers.
“We, however, make it absolutely clear that the quarantine centres already existing should be improved, in the light of what we have already said above,” the court ordered and directed the state government to remove all the shortcomings in these quarantine centers.